These days, the line between social good and partisan alignment has become severely blurred. All it takes is a single tweet about healthcare or a Facebook post about immigration to set a political filter over your brand that is astoundingly difficult to break through. Yet when it comes to the topics we care about most, we can’t just ignore these hard conversations. The trick? Engaging in these conversations while still reaching across party lines.
No matter if your cause seems to resonate more with a certain political base, a true social good campaign should bring both sides of the aisle together to make the world a better place – and it’s possible, too! It’s all about how you frame your issue.
1. Educate Yourself on the Issues
It has become increasingly easy to tell the wrong story. A retweet, Instagram story, or misguided newsletter can send the incorrect idea to millions of people. That’s why, rather than avoiding political conversations, it’s best to immerse yourself in them. Know what’s topical, read the news and keep up to date with the language that is being used in the realm of politics. Ignorance is the quickest path to poor communications.
2. Keep Communications Positive
The fastest way to misalign a cause or mission with a political party is through negativity. Harsh language, animosity and blaming a group or system of belief is more likely to alienate than garner support. Instead, rally around the positive. When possible, it’s best to celebrate diversity rather than chastising exclusivity. Raise up heroes rather than label an “enemy.” This fosters a culture of inclusivity and mutual understanding around an issue, and it positions your cause in a positive light.
3. Base Your Mission in Fact
When it comes to social causes, it’s easy for personal beliefs to get involved. That’s why it’s best to be grounded in objective truths, and in the case of social issues, this tends to be human rights and well-being. No one should face being denied service for who they are, or lack equitable access to healthcare, or even be stripped of the right to be with their family. Statements like these tend to be agreeable regardless of party, and they present an even-handed way to frame your cause.
4. Discuss Political Actions Only When Relevant
Just because you’re trying to avoid politics doesn’t mean politics will avoid you. Comments from leaders, pieces of legislation and news stories from across the country can all impact your cause in crucial ways. To ignore these developments can mean falling out of relevance, but addressing them can be a daunting task. In an age where one change can implicate several other causes, it’s best to stick to what you know. Keep the conversation local to your cause, and in doing so, talk about its positive or negative impacts on the people you care about, rather than focusing on the people behind the problem.
5. Recognize the Good and Bad from Both Sides
When politics enter the picture it’s easy to fall back into party loyalty, but when it comes to social good, the reality is seldom black and white. If politics plays a major role in your cause, then it’s important to recognize the faults and celebrate the gains that originate from either side of an issue, rather than just one. Being even-handed towards both ends of the political spectrum in your communications, though sometimes difficult, shows loyalty to your cause rather than party, and keeps your communications free of political bias.
There will be times where something downright bad happens; scary moments that put your cause at risk or severely harm those you’re trying to help the most. It’s easy to want to break the rules, but when it comes down to it, keeping cool is the key to acting as a light in the dark.